Our client wanted to create a vacation home for the perfect remote up north retreat with all the amenities to entertain during any season or weather. This theater room was created to offer the ultimate space to enjoy some downtime from the lake or entertainment for a rainy day. The homeowner and his guest can relax on the custom leather couch while enjoying their favorite movie or concert. It’s like being at the theater without having to travel far.
From concept development to installation, through the finishing touches, Spire was involved at every step to help create this incredible theater room. Right down to the studs, the room was built for the optimal performance.
Photo by Beth Singer Photographer Inc.
A home cinema is more than just a couch and a TV. When done right, you can create a space that completely immerses you in a cinematic experience. Imagine a picture that is so clear, you forget you’re looking at a screen; sound and music that flows throughout the room; heightening your senses as you become completely indulged in the scene.
So how do you create this premier home theater experience? Like every great project at Spire, it starts with design and engineering. For this Northern Michigan home, we worked with the builder and other trades to ensure every component was built for the optimal sound and video quality.
Inside the Shell
Spire worked closely with the builder to ensure the mechanical compartments were built for performance. All speakers were installed with the internal framework for the greatest amount of sound to be contained within the space. 2 X 4 pillars were built for the side speakers to be mounted within the side channels. A soffit was built around the perimeter of the ceiling that created the frame for the ceiling lighting cove and architectural cove ceiling artwork. This soffit also holds the rear speakers. A false front consisting of a 2 X 6 wall was built to enclose the left, center and right front speakers and provide a surface to mount the screen.
We used a 2 ¼” solid core door with a built in retractable automatic door sweep. The only penetrations to the space were one located in the ceiling at the rear inside the soffit for the projector feed, control and 4 rear speakers. Another penetration was located in the floor of the front cabinet for the front speakers and subwoofers as well as the BluRay feed and control. The last was located in the floor for the supply and exhaust ventilation.
The Acoustics of a space depend on two main factors: the transmission of external noise into the space, and the behavior of sound in the space itself. Without appropriate soundproofing, external noise (either airbourne or structural) can interfere with internal acoustics, creating audio artifacts, decreasing listening quality and causing a general background noise.
The interior of the room was sealed with ¼” Quiet Barrier vinyl sound dampening material and the gaps in the material were closed with soundproofing tape. The exterior walls were also covered in the same way minus the wall adjacent to the exterior. Walls and ceiling inside the space were covered with 4 layers of ½” QuietRock and the three exterior walls of the space that were interior to the home were covered with 2 layers of QuietRock and 5/8” plyboard which becomes the finished wall surface of the home outside of the theater. The floor of the space was prepped for sprayed foam above the mechanical crawl space below.
Sound in an environment is a result of soundwaves and their reflections. The way sound interacts with a space can be shaped in order to offer a better perception of sound to the listener. A good acoustic treatment lies in the correct ratio between absorption and diffusion. Sound diffusing and absorbing panels were designed, installed and patterned to take only the sound that is injected into the room and steady it. They were installed on all 4 walls including behind the screen, in-between the in wall speakers, as well as on the ceiling. Panels were placed to limit unwanted room reflections and to enhance those needed for correct human feeling. Other panels were installed to absorb unnecessary bass creating a space that allows for dynamic sound without unwanted and overwhelming sound intensities.
The Subwoofer cabinets located in the front cabinets were also packed on all 4 sides with Echo Absorber acoustic foam for clearer bass. Each sub was placed on a ½” vinyl sound-absorbing matt to help prevent bass from traveling out of the space through the floor.
All of the sound panels were covered with acoustically transparent stretch fabric giving the room a panelized feel. The stretch fabric was also used to disguise the subwoofer locations in front of the cabinets creating a feeling of unity.
Audio, Video & Controls
We carefully arranged the speakers to ensure exceptional definition, crystal clear highs, and full, deep bass. The result is authentic, engaging musical enjoyment, evoking the emotions of the original recording. We accomplished that by installing 3 Meridian Audio DSP 640.2 Speakers for the front left, center, and font right channels along with 4 Meridian Audio DSP320 Speakers for the 4 surround channels. Two JL Audio E112 subs and a Meridian Audio G65 Sound Controller were installed.
For a truly cinematic quality, we installed a Sony VPL VM695 Native 4K projector with Meridian Audio UHD722 HDMI Processor. The Sony 4K projector delivers stunning, detail-packed images and incredible lifelike color. They are compatible with IMAX Enhanced content, making them ready to deliver the bigger, more breathtaking IMAX visuals.
All this technology can be daunting, but we made it easy to control with a Savant control system. The custom designed interface allows the homeowner to easily select the lights, speakers and projector. The preset scenes make it even easier by allowing any number of tasks to be performed at once. Select “Movie Night” and the lights dim, the projector powers on and the movie library appears on the screen.
Choosing the right furniture is crucial for obtaining comfort while complimenting the theater room’s aesthetics. Spire installed luxurious CINEAK custom leather upholstered theater seats. The 5 captains chairs had motorized backs and foot rests for the ultimate comfort and ease.
Lighting a theater room is about finding the right balance. You need enough illumination to move around safely while not distorting the quality of the video. Intentional lighting placement can strike the perfect balance between performance and value.
We installed SIRS-E LED strip lighting in the stairs and ceiling. This flexible LED strip is engineered to operate with optimal luminous efficacy. The DMX controls allow the lights to dim and change colors. The ability to change colors allow the homeowner the creativity to enhance the feel and mood of the room.
DMF recessed lighting was installed in the perimeter of the ceiling. The flexibility of DMF lighting allows us to adjust for the right amount of accent or illumination.
Each system was integrated into a Lutron Homeworks QS lighting system to harmoniously control all the lights.